eyes gleaming coyly she smiled and then looked away saying, “I don’t think that you should say anything else that
has references to length!” Their marriage and careers were at that confluence where paths converge
and continue as one or cross and undertake a tangential course. There they sat, exchanging pointed pointless
barbs while she slowly smoked and he stared out the rear window. This was their only form of verbal communication,
although the message was clearly goodbye.
“Well now, it looks as though we’re going to be shanghaied
into the Army” Atwater Four sarcastically sneered noting a sedan with military markings making a U-turn to park several
yards to the rear.
“You want me to check it out, Sir?” asked Barnes, the barrel-chested
chauffeur, as he rolled down the glass partition separating the front seat from the passenger seats.
thank you Barnes” assured Atwater Four. “Hut one, two, three, four” he added in a mocking
“Maybe you should get the leader to drill you!” retorted Michelle stepping from
the car leaving her smoldering cigarette to return to her position under a nearby shady tree.
horny bitch wants all of that young cock for herself” Atwater IV muttered half aloud but wholly serious.
Barnes, knowing the bi-sexual tendencies of his employers, laughed to himself as he closed the privacy window.
The “match made in heaven’’ was being “played in hell.”
The merger of two wealthy social issues oriented families was falling apart and crumbling faster than the Library.
The military car contained four passengers; the occupants of the front seat were military policemen in crisp khaki
uniforms. The men in the back wore civilian clothes; one was eastern accented Captain Ben Campbell, who
looked as though he was on his way to a polo match with his classic Brooks Brothers attire. The
other nattily dressed in a blue cord suit was the prodigal, Richard Hawkes; the scholar turned soldier trying to sort and
to define his self-perceived confused existence. He was returning to the old neighborhood for an overnight
visit to attend the funeral of ‘a very special friend’.
“Sir, your Mother set
quite a table for us” Sgt. E J Ducharme, the rugged Louisiana born MP non-driver acknowledged as he turned and extended
his hand graciously. He was referring to the snack of fresh lemonade, home made biscuits, fried chicken
and potato salad the group had consumed at Richard’s new home in a middle class sector five miles away.
Ducharme was a well-versed gourmand in Black soul food since he was from a small racially tolerant town where
everyone “just kind of got along”. PFC Gus Atkins, the driver, was basically a loner
from the Upper Peninsula who spent weeks at a time living off the land in the Upper Peninsula and Canada. His
interaction with people of any ethnicity was very limited. The highlight of the day for him was when Sandy,
the family pet, befriended him and engaged in a game of tug of war with a doggie pull-toy rope. Trying
to exhibit some social skills, he attempted to extend Ducharme’s compliment adding, “The meal was really great!
I just loved your dog; I bet he’d make a real good coon hound.”
a chance for his penchant for irreverent humor, Richard rejoinder-ed, “Hell, he already belongs to coons!”
The group burst into laughter at the racially slurred double entendre with Ducharme laughing particularly hard.
“You have to watch what you say around Hawkes; he’s liable to say anything” said Campbell as he wiped
his eyes which were beginning to tear because he was laughing so hard.
“Well, this is my stop”
resumed Richard as he was preparing to leave. After removing his jacket he retrieved a double shoulder
holster, a slim automatic pistol, a silencer, two extra clips of ammunition and a money-clip containing $500.00 in twenty
dollar bills from a gym bag. Adjusting the holsters so the contents would hang just above the waistline
in order to minimize any bulges, he handed the gym bag to Capt. Campbell saying, “Take care of my gear, Boss.”
“See you tomorrow at ten hundred,” the military designation for 10:00 AM.
you don’t want me to tag along and ride shotgun?” queried Campbell.
I’m cool. Besides, ‘it’s a great day to die’!” using a sarcastic
reference to the group leader, Colonel Ashton’s message at each briefing. “Hasta Sabado”,
Spanish for ‘until Saturday’. Stepping from the car he gave a perfect salute to Capt. Campbell.
Returning the salute Campbell reminded, “Take care, my man. We need you for the mission.”
“Now that’s the coolest Black man I’ve ever seen,” said an admiring Ducharme, “I’d
soldier with him any day, anywhere!”
“General Graham says
that he’s the most natural leader that he’s ever seen in his thirty years in the Army. Wants
him to become a lifer; says he’d be a general someday!” added Campbell as the car pulled away. “Hey!
What kind of car is that?” He added watching a gray sports car whiz by.
the new Ford Mustang,” Atkins said as he temporarily took his eyes off Richard to glance at the car “My uncle
works in the plant where they make ‘em. By the way Sir, who was that Rico guy Mr. Hawkes’ mother
was raving about, saying he was the ‘world’s best looking White man?’”
would be Rico C,” casually replied Campbell.
“You mean the big-time gangster BOSS?”
Atkins queried surprisingly as he sharply turned his head.
“The same,” Campbell repeated with the same nonchalance.
“You mean Mr. Hawkes
knows HIM!” asked Atkins, astonished even more.
“Know him! Hell; they’re best
friends!” Campbell laughed slightly.
must be one bad-ass dude!” said Atkins as he shook his head.
“That he is soldier…
that he is…” Campbell’s voice trailed as he watched his comrade depart.
was walking towards the demolition area when he heard a familiar voice, “Got any chewing gum GI?”
As he quickly advanced to the tree where Ms Dumas was standing he humorously answered, “Why are the
heathens destroying the temple?” Ignoring his outstretched hand, the former Ms Dumas, now
Mrs. Atwater, threw her arms around his neck to deliver a warm passionate kiss knocking his straw hat off and sunglasses askew
in the process.